tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 3, 2017 11:30pm-12:01am PDT
we are joined tonight by our congressional correspondent kasie hunt, last seen on live television earlier tool while hallie jackson was on the air. kasie was running in pursuit of lindsey graham. so in accordance with her job in what we keep saying is job that pretty much looks to us 24/7. and kasie, we've asked you to come on tonight once and for all since this is a term used every day and will be used a lot more as the week spools out, what is the nuclear option? and what's the inherent danger in invoking it? >> first of all, brian, i recommend wearing flat shoes if you come up here on capitol hill because high heels would not go well. >> i do all the time. >> but the nuclear option i think we are going to be seeing more drama here on capitol hill. it's obviously a little bit of an apocalyptic term and the reason why we use it in the context of the senate is because
they have a very long tradition of at least trying or pretending to be nice to each other. it is a smallish group of 100 people. a lot of them served for a really long time and the history around supreme court nominations is actually very largely by part bipartisan. even the times when these nominations have gone down it's because the senate, with both parties together h basically said to the prident, fort it. we don't want to do this. this person isn't qualified, et cetera ra. we are in a very partisan era. and essentially the nuclear option is a change to the rules. so the senate has a filibuster that requires 60 votes to cut off debate on something and then hold a final vote. any final vote in the senate usually requires a simple majority. at least that's the case for nominations and for legislation. historically, senators have had to get to 60 votes in order to proceed to that final vote. and most supreme court nominations have gone through with many more than 60 votes over the years. back in 2013, the democrats
changed the rules for simpler judicial nominations, lower judgeships and for cabinet nominations. it was a huge deal at the time and caused a lot of animosity. but they left out supreme court nominations specifically because they are such a big deal. but now because democrats are angry about merrick garland, they are under so much pressure from their liberal base, that they're at the point they're saying forget this. there is no way we're coming to the table on judge gore such. and senator mcconnell which an institutionalist, he really loves the senate, there was thinking maybe he would want to avoid this. but all indications say at this point he is going to move to change the rules. that would likely happen on thursday if he does it. it with initially -- you'd see a vote where they would need to get 60. that would fail and then mcconnell would make a move the change the rules and it would require 50 votes to do that. >> nbc's capitol hill correspondent, the indefatigable
kasie hunt. thank you for that. kasie's explanation tonight is germane to our discussion because the senate judiciary committee today voted to advance supreme court nominee and federal judge neil gorsuch to the senate floor where he will likely face a filibuster. i spoke earlier this will evening to democratic senator richard blumenthal of connecticut. importantly, he sits on the judiciary and armed services committees. i started off by asking him whether he agreed with a headline that was out today that said the process kasie just walked us through will change the u.s. senate forever. >> it will change the senate forever if in fact the 60 vote threshold is struck down. but the senate has operated by bipartisan consensus. because the feeling has been over many years that these nominees should be approved by more than a razor thin majority. they serve for life in the highest court in the land. and i would regret this very
destructive step if the republican leadership chooses to invoke this nuclear option. >> when people say they question why the democrats are going to the mat on this one, which is in fact net/net replacement for the late justice antonin scalia and not the next one, what do you say to that? >> he has evaded all of our key questions on adherence to well established precedent relating to women's health care and privacy. he has left the inescapable conclusion that he would adhere to the trump litmus test, which is overturning roe v. wade and striking down sensible legislation to control gun violence. and he is out of the mainstream on fundamental core precedence. this seat is not a republican or a democratic seat. it should be a mainstream juries prudential seat and a
that's what neil gorsuch has failed to show. >> i've heard it said today while the gorsuch matter may be regressive for the senate and how it operates, the progressive news might be the senate intelligence committee. do you think it will stand as the definitive investigation into these russian ties? >> what we need is a special prosecutor, because neither intelligence committee, house or senate, nor even a special commission can bring criminal charges. and more and more evidence is mounting that criminal charges will be appropriate at some point against people in this country who may have colluded with the russian meddling in this election. so my hope is that a special prosecutor who can bring criminal charges and hold accountable the people who need to be held accountable criminally in a court of law and conduct a fair, impartial vigorous investigation. >> do you have any reaction to jared kushner visiting iraq before secretary of state
tillerson? >> i think that this whiteou is unorthodox and unprecedented in the way it conducts foreign affairs as well as domestic policy. what concerns me most is the potential conflicts of interest that are rife in the white house and i think there needs to be more inquiry into what those conflicts of interest are and how kushner and others may be involved in them. >> connecticut democratic senator richard blumenthal thank you very much for your time tonight. >> thank you. and coming up in our next segment, let's make a deal, to get anything done, president trump needs a majority on his side. but who does he go to? and how exactly does he get that done? our strategists are here with a little advice when "the 11th hour" continues. and we wanted to let you know, our broadcast is on the msnbc app. that's what it looks like.
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that was just tonight. both men and the budget director mike mulvaney former member of congress just wrapped up a meeting with members of the freedom caucus, powerful group that said no deal to the white house on health care. the president has since gone after them on twitter. tonight the chair of the freedom caucus, congressman mark meadows, seen there of north carolina said there is no new deal in principle but the group is intrigued by what the white house has to say. nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker happened to speak to president trump in the oval office tonight. he told her he's serious about working on health care and he thinks he can get a deal. as the white house seems ready to take its second dip in the healthare pond we are joed tonit by some pros in the business to talk about the art of the possible here, democratic strategist steve mcmahon, season senior adviser to the dnc in days past, and republican strategist john feehery, former
spokesman for the speaker of the house. okay, gentlemen. john, we'll start with you. we had all been led to believe, and we saw it fall apart in front of our very eyes, health care reform, repeal, replace, done, and dusted. where do they think they are going now? >> well, brian, that's a really great question. i think one of the things they have to work on is the fact that the bill they originally tried to pass had a 17% approval rating which is not very high. they have got to get that up a little bit to talk about building coalitions. the other problem for republicans they have got to build a coalition beyond the house to include the senate. to do that they need the get 51, 52 votes and need to make sure they can get it through the senate with reconciliation. all of that is very difficult to do, keeping the republicans together on health care as john boehner pointed out a while ago is almost impossible, especially if the approval rating of that bill is 17%. so they have to explain it better, and they have to try to explain to all their colleague
what is they are trying to do and what they are trying to accomplish. we all want to repeal and replace. but the replacement the key, and they haven't explained the replacement very well. >> all right, steve. and as your party sees it, a 35% president couldn't pass a 17% repeal and replace. >> right. >> we all agree everything inside the 495 beltway circle is broken. so if i named you party chairman and majority leader and asked you for something you think you could reach across, get some votes on and pass in a country that's still -- we still insist we want to see cooperation, what would that be? >> it wouldn't be health care reform unless the president is serious about workg with democrats in way that involves democrats in t cversation to improve and not repeal obamacare. i think it probably would be infrastructure, brian. and the reason for that is infrastructure is one of those things that has traditionally been bipartisan. republicans as well as democrats have supported it because bridges and roads and schools
and airports and highways and other things exist in everyone's district and everyone wants them to be improved and modernized and kept up. we have cut infrastructure spending in this country by 30% in the last 30 years. it's time to do something about it. that seemed to be a consensus going into the administration. i'm kind of surprised he didn't start there because he had chuck schumer and nancy pelosi and democrats willing to work with him on that. if he really wants to get a win, that's the most likely he can get it. it can do for communities what an economic jobs program used to do for communities. it can do for the country what needs to be done in terms of investing in the future, and it could get this president a win. he is not going to get it on health care reform by cutting deals with the freedom caucus, going further and further right throwing more and more people off of health care and raising premiums for seniors. it already has a 70% approval
rating. >> john, your face was priceless while he was describing his plan. and number two, we can all agree, infrastructure is a super sexy word, and maybe that's why we've seen zero progress on infrastructure. we need to call it something. but, john, to his point, isn't that something? who doesn't want better airports and roads without holes in them and bridges that we think will hold up through the dinner hour? >> well, listen, steve a very good friend, and he has actually stumbled on to the truth. i think infrastructure is a big part of this. i think tax reform and tax relief. the big issue here is jobs. well need to create jobs in this country, well paying jobs. we need to get people back to work. we have one of the highest rates of people not working. we need to get people back to work. the unemployment rate is low, there is a lot of people who dropped out of the work force. we need to get those jobs back going. infrastructure is a huge part of that. not only on roads and bridges but also the infrastructure on the superhighway, the internet,
the broad band. we need to get more of that going. but we also need to have companies relocate here to the united states. that means corporate tax reform. we need corporate tax reform. i think if you are going to do corporate tax reform that also means you need to get more money into the hands of the middle class and working class americans. that means a big tax cut. if you combine those two things steve i think we can get a deal. >> i'm going to finish with john. based on the possibility the president of the united states is watching, one piece of advice. then i'm going to ask the same question of steve? >> the one piece of advice is you are not going to get democrats unless you get democratic constituencies which means you have really got to go to the labor constituency and get them excited about your plan to create jobs. because labor wants jobs. i think if you can do that, you can get the democrats to agree with your agenda. >> steve, your turn. >> if i were advising the president, i would tell him he needs to get a win, because his
presidency is going to be defined and derailed by these failures. remember, bill clinton and hillary clinton spent a lot of time on hh care and didn't get very far, except they got the beginning of their administration derailed. barack obama spent two years on it. it is a very difficult thing to do wrestling with one six of the economy. it bogged down his administration for two years. he did get health care reform passed but it was at great cost. this president needs to get a win. he can get a win on this. he can create million, literally millions of very, very good paying jobs in this country. middle class blue collar jobs. it would be not just a political win for him, but potentially one that is game-changing. >> all right. after too much talk about problems we thought we would take a swing at solutions here tonight and see if we could find some rare area of agreement if it broke out. gentlemen you have helped. steve mcmahon, john feehery, thanks for coming on tonight and staying up late with us. coming up after our next break, with president trump set to meet the chinese leader, the
we were talking earlier earlier about how on thursday president trump will meet with china's president, a meeting with increasingly larger consequences because of north korea. and that's because to put it mildly, more and more evidence is showing a strained relationship between pyongyang and beijing. in a new interview with nbc news, the highest profile defector from north korea in over two decades says the world needs to be ready because kim jong-un is, quote, desperate to stay in power and on won't hesitate no use long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. still with us is politico's michael crowley. he is senior affairs correspondent. and michael, donald trump in this interview with the financial times said if china's not going to solve north korea, we will.
in plain english, where is he getting that? >> i'm not sure where he's getting it, brian. i think he rightly recognizes that the status quo with north korea is a problem that is getting worse, and we can't just do nothing. but the problem is we can't just come in and, quote/unquote, solve it. we really need china's help on this. china doesn't actually mind the status quo nearly as much as we do. china doesn't think we should be messing around on the korean peninsula. they don't want us having an active foreign policy role. they don't like we have a military presence to begin with. trump is probably listening to national security professionals who say we have a real problem. but i'm sure they're not saying if china can't solve it, we're going to come in and do it because not many people in their right minds think there is a simple way of doing that without starting a catastrophic war.
>> in 30 seconds or less, what is the danger of the talks going on at mar-a-lago this weekend? >> the danger is that you have some kind of miscalculation that the north koreans lash out or trump orders some kind of rash military action which sets of a big war in the peninsula. at mar-a-lago, this will be a key topic of conversation. trump will be urging the chinese to pressure north korea to try to get them to dial back their nuclear program, their missile program. it's just not that simple. the obama administration, it wasn't for lack of trying they weren't able to get china to do something. so, you know, good luck, but this is just one of the hardest problems out there. >> and this is just part of the beat michael crowley covers for politico, and from time to time for us. michael, thank you very much very much for coming on our broadcast. >> it's my pleasure. coming up here after our last break, why a lot of people were seeing red over the color blue these past 24 hours when "the 11th hour" continues.
last thing before we go tonight, in the era of social media, nothing done in the public eye goes unnoticed or uncommented on. and yesterday, a lapel pin worn by the speaker of the house beneath the american flag was no exception. the blue puzzle piece is the widely known logo of a widely known research and charity called autism speaks. after his innocent enough message for autism awareness,
the outrage that followed use words like empty and craven to criticize this gesture by paul ryan, mostly because of the effort to repeal and replace obamacare because of the amount of coverage that would have come to an end in that final bill as written. the president got his share of criticism and outrage for this gesture, turning white house blue last night for world autism day. mr. trump after all took to twitter back in 2014 to call for a halt to government vaccination programs, and has repeatedly claims that vaccines cause autism despite a lack of proof and a vital need for preventing the spread of diseases like the measles and polio. the white house said they lit the place blue in honor of the wright family, bob wright, former nbc ceo, and% susan wright who died in 2016. over the last 24 hours, look what they built, however. land markets around the nation and the world were bathed in blue for world autism day.